Chinese medicine has been using ginger for over 2,000 years to settle upset stomachs. Its medicinal benefits extend beyond cracking open a ginger ale for the classic stomach ache; more recently, ginger has been found to pack just the right amount of vitamins and minerals to help treat the occasional hangover.

Ginger grows naturally as a root and can be eaten or drunk in various forms, and although it’s more often used for its flavor, ginger is also used to prevent several ailments. Ginger contains magnesium, zinc, and chromium which promotes healthy circulation, which in turn helps prevent chills, fevers and excessive sweating. It can be taken to reduce pain and inflammation in the same way aspirin and ibuprofen are used. For those with a wicked hangover, a ginger tea may do the trick.

Ginger Root
Commonly known as a cheap spice, studies show that ginger can increase our life expectancy. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain

Not only can it alleviate the pain and headache pressure that appears the morning after a night out drinking, it can also help ensure smooth sailing. According to a study published in the journal Lancet, the ancient root even works to remedy nausea and motion sickness. Scientists recruited 80 naval cadets who were prone to seasickness and gave them 1 gram of ginger powder or a placebo. Over the course of the four-hour voyage, those who consumed ginger reported less nausea and suffering compared to those who didn’t ingest ginger.

Ginger also helps improve the immune system by fighting off fatty deposits that may appear in the arteries, along with decreasing bacterial infections in the stomach, and helps combat a bad cough or throat irritation. Alcohol lowers your body’s ability to fight off sickness, which is why feeding it the nutrients it needs to boost immune system performance can make a difference in recovery.

For many women, ginger can also be a huge relief from menstrual cramps. When researchers tested ginger against ibuprofen in a recent study, they found both provided pain relief from cramps over the course of three days. This natural home remedy approach to pain relief is effective and scientifically proven to both reduce inflammation and settle any nausea the period may have caused. Ginger is so effective it’s sold in herbal capsule to take in lieu of ibuprofen or other over-the-counter medications.